School News
Mary Randers named Interim Vice President of Institutional Enrollment at Austin College as Kowert departs
By Austin College
Dec 2, 2023
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Sherman, Texas -- Austin College President Steven O’Day has announced changes in leadership of the college’s Institutional Enrollment Division, which encompasses admission and financial aid. After 18 years as part of the admission team at Austin College, Vice President of Institutional Enrollment Baylee Kowert, a 2005 graduate of the school, has announced plans to relocate to Australia. Kowert’s husband Josh, a 2004 graduate of the school, is employed by the U.S. Department of State and has been posted to the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia; the entire family will be relocating there at the end of this year.


“The only thing that could lure me away from Austin College is another location with a kangaroo affinity. While the change is bittersweet for us, I take comfort knowing that the Kowert Family will remain very proud members of ’RooNation down under,” said Baylee Kowert.


Current Dean of Admission Mary Randers will be stepping in as Interim Vice President of Institutional Enrollment upon Kowert’s departure. Randers has held the Dean of Admission role at Austin College for the past two years. Prior to that, she held the same position at Willamette University in Oregon. Randers has more than 20 years of experience in the admission profession, and has worked in secondary education and on the vendor side of the desk at Zinch, a social networking platform for high school students and college recruiters. She has a B.A. in Business from Southwestern University, a graduate certificate in Strategic Management from the Harvard Extension School and will soon complete a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Management from the Harvard Extension School.


Randers has spent most of her career at small liberal arts institutions because she has a passion for the work. “As an enrollment leader, I am in the unique position to both serve the institution in building a class, while also helping students find the right college fit and a community that knows them, challenges them, and supports them,” she said. “It is such an honor to work with students and their families as they navigate the life milestone that is choosing where to go to college. I am proud of the work our admission team does in offering personalized support through that process, and I am inspired daily by the experiences Austin College students are having in this truly special community. I am excited for this opportunity to continue to shape how we tell the Austin College story to future ’Roos.” 


About the change, President O’Day said, “Austin College will miss Baylee greatly, but I am excited for her and her family as they pursue this new chapter in their lives. It has been a pleasure working with Baylee, and I am grateful for the incisive leadership she has shown during her time here. Although it is a loss on the staff side, as alumni of Austin College Baylee and Josh so perfectly exemplify the bold, adventurous, and globally connected spirit of our graduates that, in the end, it is hard to feel anything other than proud.”


O’Day continued, “I am pleased that there will not be a gap in leadership. Baylee and Mary have worked closely these last few years, and I am confident that the Institutional Enrollment division will carry on with the outstanding work they are doing recruiting students under Mary’s leadership.” Kowert will be remain at the helm through mid-November, and Randers will step in after the Thanksgiving holiday.


Now in its 175th year, Austin College proudly advances its mission to prepare students for rewarding careers and meaningful lives while strengthening the community in which we are established. Austin College has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, pre-professional foundations, committed faculty, and hands-on learning opportunities. One of 44 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and an expert faculty of more than 100 educators allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under its original name and charter.